Single-family starts rise in line with builder confidence

December 19, 2017 LBM Journal

WASHINGTON — Nationwide housing starts rose 3.3% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million units after a downwardly revised October reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. This month’s reading is a post-recession high.

Single-family production rose 5.3% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 930,000, which also is the highest post-recession report. Year-to-date, single-family starts are 8.7% above their level over the same period last year. Meanwhile, multifamily starts fell 1.6% to 367,000 units after a strong October reading.

“The increase in single-family production is consistent with builder confidence gains, and shows builders are optimistic about new federal policies aimed to promote small business growth,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.

“The strong November reading indicates that builders are continuing to increase single-family production to meet growing demand for housing,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With low unemployment and increasing owner-occupied household formation, single-family starts should continue to make gains in 2018.”

Regionally in November, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 19.0% in the West and 11.1% in the South. Starts fell 12.9% in the Midwest and 39.6% in the Northeast.

Overall permit issuance in November was down 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.298 million units. Single-family permits rose 1.4% to 862,000 units while multifamily permits fell 6.4% to 436,000.

Permits rose 1.4% in the South. Permits declined 3.0% in the West, 4.7% in the Midwest and 5.7% in the Northeast.

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